After spending 13 hours in China because of the fucking layover, I was on my way to Chiang Mai. I was flying. It was actually the first time I flew during the day, so I could actually look at stuff and clouds as I was flying, which did help my flying anxiety, as did the friendly Chinese guy and his kid who were sitting in the same row as me, but I still had to squeeze the Hail Mary figure my grandma gave me on the day I was leaving home. It was a hot, sunny day and I was almost excited. I guess I was more nervous than excited, because I had make arrangements to move in a co-working, shared house, and all I had was the house address. I’ve never met the guy with whom I made arrangements, we’ve only “met” through a digital nomad Slack group.
The view from the sky was promising. Uninhabited, green mountains with slight haze above them. It’s literally what I was imagining. I hoped the plane would just stop and drop me there. But, yea, it didn’t. Instead, it dropped us all off at an airport. The airport at Chiang Mai is pretty small, and tiny compared to the one in Kunming, China, the one in Ataturk, Turkey, or the one in Seoul Incheon, S. Korea. I guess it’s similar in size to the biggest Croatian airport, where my journey began at the end of December last year. But who gives a shit?
After filling out some forms and other useless stuff, I was outside the airport, and I felt like "this is it". After a crap month in S. Korea, this was a dream come true. It was pleasantly (very) warm, stuff around me was green, people were chill and overall it seemed like heaven. I took a taxi, showed him the address, and for 200 baht ($5) he got me there in 10-15 minutes or so. The co-working house was in Nimmanhaemin road, which is the tourist spot in Chiang Mai.
I knocked on the door. No one said anything. I opened the doors, and there were 3 foreign guys and 1 Asian chick. I was like "Hi, are you expecting me?", and they were like "Nop". Okay, not the best case scenario, but I explained I spoke to the main man about moving in, but I guess he forgot to mention it to them, which is a normal thing in Thailand. Anyway, I grabbed my shit and went inside. They showed me to the unoccupied room. It was a nice house with like 4 floors or so, and a terrace on the rooftop. The fact that it was in the tourist area is not something I appreciated in any way, cause I didn’t plan on being a tourist here, but an expat, since I was gonna be here for 5 months (which is still the plan).
In any case, I was satisfied. The price for the place was 10k baht, which in a currency people understand, is $280. You get your own room with double bed, your own bathroom, access to the office, the multimedia system (large TV, speakers, Chromecast, etc) and a maid that keeps the place and everyone’s clothes clean. I didn’t really like the people who were staying there because they were tourists, not expats. There were two big guys, one from Canada, and another from UK, and a small guy from Germany. The Asian chick didn’t live there, she was just having a giggle with the UK guy. Neither of them came to Thailand to live and work remotely like me, they were all on vacations (the Asian actually lives in NY). Another thing I didn’t like, was the idea that I should be doing everything from the house - both live and work. My initial plan was to get a cheap place, which I would use only for sleeping, and work in external co-working place like Punspace. For the sake of simplicity, I had decided to live in that house for the first month, find a cheap place in the meanwhile, but my plan was slightly altered when I came back to the house on the 3rd day of staying there. I checked my $$$ stash, and I found out someone stole $200. I was, like, heartbroken. There were more there, so someone was obviously going for me not noticing. The stash was seriously hidden, so it must’ve been an insider job. I went to the tourist police to try to get fingerprints off the box, but they wouldn’t even let me write a report, let alone the fingerprints thing.
I found a cheap place at Nara apartments ($125 per month) and moved out.
Tinder in Chiang Mai
That group of people visiting the coworking house I’ve mentioned in the first chapter, they were all using Tinder. I noticed it cause they were all on their phones, all the time, but it wasn’t only Facebook I was seeing, there was also this app I’ve heard about before, Tinder. I guess everyone here knows what Tinder is, but if you don’t, it’s a dating/hookup app. I was like “is it useful?”, and they strongly recommended I get on it. I think using apps, or any type of electronic accessories for dating is kind of retarded, but I tried it out for lulz. I mean, I just arrived to Thailand, and it seemed like an easy way of getting a Thai chick, mkay? Feel free to <insert-another-excuse-here>.
The next day, I had my first Tinder date. We met at a bar 5 minutes from where I lived. I wasn’t having a lot of fun. She wasn't interesting and the music was loud. But anyway, I wanted to take her to my room, cause, you know, it was close. What I realized, though, is that she wasn't a she, but a he. Yep, that’s right, a ladyboy on my first tinder date. Fuck sake I was disappointed. On the way to my place, there was a chaos going on inside my head, as I didn’t know how to get rid of him/her. He/she made it to my room, but after keeping my distance for a few minutes, he/she realized I wasn’t going to make my move, so he/she left. Trust me, I can now spot a ladyboy with a deadly precision.
The next day, I was going to have my 2nd tinder date, with a 29 year old blonde (blonde Thais are extremely rare) from Bangkok who was on vacation, but I got robbed that day, and I couldn’t be bothered cause I was sad, so I canceled. Next day, after I was done with moving to a new place, I showered and went outside to see what’s around my new home (I signed a 3 months minimum contract, so it did actually become my kind of home). And who do I see, after being outside for a minute? The fucking blonde chick. It was like a movie scene. I was on the phone talking to the crazy korean from the korea article, and this blonde walked just past me with her bike (she wasn’t riding the bicycle, just walking/dragging it). We checked each other out as we were passing by, and then, like 2 seconds after, we turned back in the same time, pointing fingers at each other, giving each other the :O face, saying “it’s youuuuuuuu”. All in all, she invited me to the place where she was staying, where we, you know, had highly intellectual conversations.
The third one was working at a tourist information place in the old city. She sent me her location on whatsApp, and I found her and her ladyboy friend chilling in the office, laid back. We went to this short term hotel place(I’ve no idea where the place was, btw, as I was just a passenger on a bike, in a new city), where an hour costs 200 baht. Very convenient. I didn’t like the atmosphere in the place. It’s a room with a bed, the AC is turned way up (I like warm, not cool), cold blue lights, and a TV where porn is playing. I’m more of a natural person, mkay? Anyway, all that stuff kinnda destroyed my mood, but since I was already there, I kinnda had to go through it. The fact that her IQ was in the range of the room temperature didn’t help. On the way back from the short term place to her workspace, she was telling me she’s afraid her boss will notice she’s been gone, and she’s gonna get into trouble. All in all, she wanted me to pay for her time, but I played dumb and kept saying “he won’t notice” :D
The fourth one. She wasn’t interested in me. How selfish of her :(
The fifth one. I wasn’t interested in her. She was very nice to me until I found the sixth one. Once, I had a cockroach in my room. I’m terrified of them. I tried to kill the evil with a shoe, but I failed and the evil went inside my wardrobe, and got mixed up with my clothes. I could never share a room with a cockroach, so I rang her up, and asked her if she could come over and kill it, and she actually drove her bike across the town to come kill the thing. Great success, but she did started to hate me once I found the next one.
The sixth one. She was a real catch and a top moment in my month-long Tinder career. Unbelievably pretty - long dark hair, almost as tall as me, smart (lab scientist), travelled a lot, great personality, fun to be around. I uninstalled Tinder after a couple of days with her. But, there were buts. First off, she had this idea of having a guy for a year before she grants access to punani zone. A friggin year. Are you serious? Plus, I’m against those kind of semi-afflicted or culture-afflicted restrictions. Life’s for living, not waiting. Also, she would never spend a night at my place, cause her mom and sister would’ve annoyed her if she did. After a month with me, she left for the UK for two weeks, and after she came back, it was too late.
I also have a funny anecdote that happened outside the Tinder world. It was Monday, and I was going up to CAMP (kind of coworking space) in Maya (shopping mall). I ate some shit in basement floor, and as I was on the moving stairs, I eyelocked with this Thai chick. Her face was a wreck, but the babylons were truly massive. Usually, when I eyelock with someone in a random moment like that, it doesn’t go anywhere from there. But, she started smiling at me, so I smiled back. We kept doing that for a couple of seconds, and then when we both reached our destination floor, I gave her a “come here” hand motion, and she came. We talked briefly, I asked her for her number (cause I had shit to do in CAMP), she handed it, and we agreed to meet that week. On Wednesday or so, I met her at Starbucks. She ordered some shit, and as I already had coffee, I was like “I’m fine” to the staff, but as I sat down across her, the staff came to us and asked us to pay for her thing. She was just looking and smiling at me like a complete nob end. I was like, okay, whatever, and paid for her shit (I never even once went to Starbucks while in Thailand cause it’s 3 expensive 5 me). She was just smiling like a retard, and I didn’t quite understand why the fuck are we in Starbucks in the first place. I mean, she knew why I met her. Something, like usually here in Thailand, was wrong. She lived all the way near Night Bazaar, and just kept saying “hehehehe we go to my place to relax hehehehe” and I was like “No, I live 5 minutes from here, what the fuck is wrong with you?”. She was persuasive as fuck, but I was even more.
So, I convinced her to go to my place. But she had other things on her mind. After she was done with the coffee, which seemed like ages, she was like “eeheeehheeeh I need to go to the toilet heeeeeh”, and I was like “Okay”. So I accompanied her, like a nice guy I am. But that was just an excuse, a part of her master plan (well, a master plan on her scale). It just so happened that the bathroom she chose was at the very end of a massive woman’s underwear section, and I started to get the idea. While we were on the way to the bathroom, she kept saying “ohhhh look at all this nice stuff, you want to buy me a present heeeeeehheeeh?”, but I was trying to play dumb and ignore her. However, that didn’t work, as her “do you want to buy me a present?” turned into “I want you to buy me a present.” as she was done with the bathroom. I felt like I couldn’t ignore her anymore, so I told her, literally “I won’t buy you a present”, and she was like “but it doesn’t have to be anything expensive kaaaaaa”, but i just shook my head off. When we got outside the mall, she sat me down on a wall, and started going on about her financial problems. She said “I don’t need many money, just a little”, but I told her I am poor and left. In retrospective, all I spent on her was a hundred something baht for the coffee, and I got a nice story and experience in return. I could’ve faded her by saying I’ll give her some after we’re done with the “relaxation”, but I couldn’t stand her anymore at that point, and just wanted to never see her massive babylons again.
To me, the most important thing happened a day after Songkran, but I don’t even know how to get started about it, since it’s all very fragile and in uncharted territory, so I’ll just skip it for now.
I had some other experiences, but they are not a good material for this blog, simply because there’s no story in them. But I did meet a Thai whose birthday is on the same date as me, was in a relationship with a Croatian/Australian dude for six years, which is the same duration as my ex-gf and me. How improbable is that? That’s pretty improbable.
The Thai people
The people in Chiang Mai (and Thailand generally) are very, very nice. They smile at you for no reason, and it's completely okay if you do the same. I know I do it, all the time. Very, very friendly place. They don't question their existence. They just accept whatever their culture says is okay, or is not okay. I have had various occassions when I was actually being considered rude for even questioning their lack of questioning, and I am not imagining stuff either, cause I asked, just to be sure. They don't even question some very basic things, and by that I mean the AC level in CAMP, where I spend most of my time. For fucks sake, if half of the people inside it are shivering (me), and the other half is wearing fucking jackets (Thais), can't someone who has the authority over temperature wonder why is that happening? When it's 40 degrees outside, and only 18-20 degrees inside it starts to feel like the north pole. /rant
What I like about them most, though, is their down-to-Earth way of thinking, which is often different from where I come from. They don't have illusions of grandeur, like my korean friend from the korean article has.
What I dislike most, is their obsession with smartphones. They stare at their phones, all the time, and the girls, they're taking both individual and group selfies like it's going out of style. They realize people think it's silly/stupid, though, because when they notice you're looking at them with the >:| face, they start pretending like they're not doing it, but when you stop looking, or they think that, they're on again. But don't think just because they know you think it's silly, they think it's silly - they're organized when it comes to it. They bring out their DSLRs too, and then they go on, even sometimes for like 30 minutes. When I asked a Thai why they do it, she just said "girls...". Okay then, girls.
All in all, they're old fashioned, which helps in keeping the place very safe.
The food is one of the best parts of living here - it's really cheap, and really good.
Opening a bank account in Thailand without work permit (on a tourist Visa)
As you were able to read in the first chapter, I got robbed in the first few days, so I really wanted to put my money into the bank ASAP. Thai banks have a requirement when it comes to opening accounts - you gotta have a work permit, and I’m here on a tourist Visa. So I wasn’t able to get it done, until I realized Bangkok bank does it, but you gotta have a residency certificate thing (proof that you live where you live). To obtain that, go to an office that’s like 20 meters from immigration office at ground floor of Promenada shopping mall. It costs about 500 baht or so, and you can have it delivered to your PO box next day for an extra hundred. After that, Bangkok bank will open an account for you. Minimum deposit is 500 baht, and the debit card costs another 300 baht. The card is issued immediately, and works great with PayPal. With my ErsteBank cards from back home, I have to wait 3 days or so to get money from PayPal to my account, but with Bangkok bank it’s always next day.
There are two reasons why I decided to open a bank account in Thailand:
- Every time I withdrew with my Croatian cards, there’d be a 200 baht ($5) surcharge. Annoying. There's no way around it, too - if you're gonna be using a foreign card, you're gonna be paying the fee, on every ATM in Chiang Mai.
- Revolut started giving me AIDS when they changed their business model and started taking 0.03% of every transaction, plus an additional fee, if you go over $700 per month. So, if I wanna withdraw $300, first Revolut is gonna take $9, and then the ATM will take another $5, which is $14 in total. I’m from Croatia, the third world, hello? People need to work like 5 hours to earn the amount that I’m getting surcharged. Bottom line is, I’m not using Revolut anymore.
The brilliant idea
After I wrote the first article for this blog (the one about Korea), it took me about two months to actually publish the blog. I only shared the private link with a few people, cause I wanted to get reactions. I’m not a writer, and my first language is not English. Anyway, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. I felt it’s pure genius, but yea, it wasn’t. My idea was to sign up on multiple dating apps and paste the link to my profile description. I installed Tinder (again), OkCupid, Badoo and Grindr. It was a fucking useless idea. It’s been 12 days since the blog is up, and I’ve had 168 people look at it so far. And that’s according to one analytics platform I’m using, the other one says only 60 or so, but fuck that one. I should just stick to working for others I guess. The average session duration is 10 minutes though, so I guess people actually do read it. #OnTheSunnySideOfTheStreet
At least I got a 10 000 baht sex offer on Grindr, and about that, I have mixed feelings.
After I finished that fitness project which I noted in the previous post, I started working on a personal project of mine - a user management system (meant to be integrated into other projects) which I wanted to sell on Codecanyon. But, the thing got rejected, so I basically wasted a month and a half. I mean, I didn’t waste it, I’m sure with additional work I can get it approved, which is what I plan to do during the summer, but still, FeelsBadMan. Here’s the thing, if anyone cares.. Fucking RIP
In the beginning of May, I’ll be going to Bangkok and Hua Hin. I’ll be flying, so I guess it’s time for massive stress again.
After that, I’m hoping to rent a motorbike for a couple of days and ride up to a mountain, rent a tent, spend the night there, and shit like that.
Yes, I know the photos are crap. I got a cheap phone and zero photo skills. It's okay.
Finally, you might've noticed there's no mentions of crazy nights out and alike. Well, during my high school years, I was going out so much, I hadn't had the will to do that ever since I was outta high school. I thought that will change in Chiang Mai, because there's a lot of places, and some of them are actually good (Jazz Co-Op being my favorite, but I only went there like twice), but nope, it didn't. So all you folks out there who want to read about that stuff, it's probably not gonna happen.